Monday, December 08, 2003

Hell's get nothing on Jersey

Ever see the Seinfeld ep where they lose the car in the parking garage? That’s nothing compared to this weekend’s jaunt to Jersey for a family event. Anyone see what happened weather wise out there?

The wife, 2 kids and I get on the 11 AM flight from O’Hare to LaGuardia this past Friday. The in-laws do the same on American. 1 hour into the flight, the captain comes on. She says that LaGuardia is closed and we’re gonna circle a while.

30 minutes later she comes on and tells us were going to re-route to Kennedy. After another 20 minutes she comes on again and says that Kennedy is plowing the runway and we’re gonna circle a while. After *another* 20 minutes she returns and tells us that Kennedy is closed and we’re re-routing to Providence, Rhode Island.

We land in Providence. Flip the cell phone on. The in-laws? Never took off (no jokes please about, “How is this a problem?”). May not get out at all.

OK, let’s get a rental car and drive the 3 hours to Jersey. It’s not even snowing here yet so we can get a good start. Mini-van? Check. Price? $100 per day extra because of a drop off charge. Note to Avis: Why does it matter how many days I have the car if I drop it in NYC? Does it cost more to get the car back to Rhode Island if I have the car 3 days instead of 2? Whatever. Let’s get the luggage and go see the family.


It seems that seven of us from the flight have no luggage. Ah! The 22-year old at the information desk! Can you please page someone to baggage? “No, sir. I can’t. Go upstairs and talk to United.” OK. At this point, I’ve hooked up with a guy named Abe (my 4 year old got his name for me as we were waiting for the bags) and we run up to the United counter.

200 people are in line. I cut the line and ask a rep if they can page someone to luggage. “Sir, I’m sorry but you have to wait in line!” Abe and I go back downstairs.

We now see a group of people talking to someone in a United uniform. She tells everyone that there is a bus to New York that’s been charted. Abe gets on the bus. I ask her about the luggage. It turns out she’s the captain of our flight. We’re informed that our luggage was placed on a different flight because we got to the airport so early. Where’s that flight? Hartford Connecticut. She gives us a phone number for baggage claims and leaves.

Armed with no luggage, two car seats and a cell phone with no charger (it’s in the luggage, along with the charger for my wife’s cochlear implant batteries without which she can’t hear a thing – AGAIN, no jokes about, “How is this a problem?”), we get our van and head out on the 160 miles to Jersey. We’ve been in the airport about an hour or so.

Now, the snow is starting.

I-95 is a nice stretch of highway. I’ve driven it a few times before. Goes past New Haven (Yale), Groton (U.S. Sub Base), Mystic (aquarium), and the coolest casino I’ve ever seen, Foxwoods (craps).

Except when there’s a six car pileup and the highway is closed.

Se we get off the road and follow something called “Highway 3” for about 20 miles. We end up in someplace called “Hopkinton” which consists of 1 street light and an ad for a Robert Frost poem. We call the cousins in Jersey and say, “See you tomorrow, but we will call in a few hours for more directions once we get to New York.”

The kids fall asleep and we manage to get to Mystic. The 4 year old wakes and starts pinning for McDonalds. I find a Ground Round and we stop. After a 1 hour break for chicken nuggets, wraps, spaghetti and a few cokes (god, wouldn’t a beer or two be good here? But no, too much driving to do), we head to the car.

Now covered by 2 inches of snow.

We get back in and drive again. 40 MPH is the max we hit the rest of the way. We finally get to the hotel at 11:30 PM. Get to the room. Ready to crash.

No crib for the 1 year old, no cot for the 4 year old. No pajamas for anyone.

All this and we’re only 12 hours into a 48 hour trip!

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